The ‘Panache’ barge Rob and Hazle were touring the Marne canal in
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title
We found a convenient parking area near the centre of the town and headed for the Haut Barr. Luckily it was still cool (23C) as we had a long winding ascent to get up to the bluff on which the castle stood. The castle was open and free to explore. It had commanding views in all directions, hence its nickname the eye of Alsace. Shame it was a bit hazy due to the heatwave, and the forests due restrict views somewhat – but the shade was very welcome on our climb up! The Fortress was constructed on 3 rocky outcrops and the Devils Walkway connects the pinacles of the 2 highest outcrops.
Nearby was an old telegraph tower which formed part of the very first telegraph line in the world. This is the Chappel Telegraph system opened in 1798 to connect Paris and Strasbourg.
Back on the bikes we followed the ridge line south through those forests and gently dropping to the valley below. The route took us through lovely Alsace villages with amazing displays of summer flowers, mainly bright red begonias and geraniums. After a very relaxed lunch at a small hotel in Birkenwald we wound our way to Marmoutier and a visit to the Abbey Church which dominates the centre of this very picturesque town.
We popped into the abbey and admired the the beautiful stained glass windows, Silbermann organ (c.1710), and vaulted ceilings. The highlight though was a visit to the crypt which took us down to the original construction from the 7th century. The crypt housed various stone sarcophagus and skeletons, the most remarkable though being a wooden coffin carved from an oak tree. It was a German tradition to plant an acorn when a child was born and then cut down the oak when they died to make the coffin.
Back on the bikes we covered the last few kilometres to Saverne, thankful that ride had not been longer as the temperatures hit the high thirties and although we drank much more water we found the whole day very tiring. Still after a dip in the pool we were refreshed and enjoyed our evening out with with Rob and Hazel at a very nice restaurant (Le Clos) in the centre of Strasbourg near the Abbey
Here is a link to a video of our ride
Click on the play button below to see a compilation of photos from the day